WINTER HAVEN — Polk State Baseball is extending the success of its recent season with three players being named to the Florida Collegiate Summer League All-Star teams.
The exhibition game is intended to showcase the talents of players who have so far had successful seasons in the Florida League.
The Florida League is a wood-bat baseball league that provides a valuable opportunity for college players; college baseball programs use aluminum bats, but pro clubs use wood.
The Florida League is recognized by Baseball America as one of the top summer leagues in the United States. In the history of the Florida League, 196 players have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams; 32 former Florida League players were selected in the 2012 MLB draft.
Hindmon, who will be a sophomore at Polk in the fall, is playing as a catcher for the Leesburg Lightning, and was named a starter for the Florida League's North All-Star team. In 24 games this summer, Hindmon is hitting .312 and has 15 putouts to go along with a 1.000 fielding percentage.
"This summer I am working on a little bit of everything," said Hindmon. "I just feel confident in my abilities. I started a little slow but I have gotten better. This is my first time being selected to a college All-Star game, there are a lot of good players out here so this is a big deal."
Last season as a freshman for the Eagles, Hindmon played errorless baseball behind the plate. He recorded 303 putouts and 36 assists — earning him a Rawlings Gold Glove, All-State and All-Conference honors and Suncoast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Hindmon was no slouch at the plate, either, posting a .299 batting average with one homerun, a dozen doubles, 44 RBIs, 25 runs and nine stolen bases. He added 17 walks and was hit by a pitch nine times to improve his on-base percentage to .372 for the season.
"I have hit three home runs this summer, more than I did all year and that is with a wooden bat," said Hindmon.
Norris who will be a sophomore for Polk next season, is also playing for the Leesburg Lightning and the North All-Star team. He has a 1-1 record and a 1.17 ERA in 13 appearances. He struck out 24 in 15.1 innings pitched and has allowed only seven hits.
"It's an awesome feeling and I am lucky to make the team. Just to be recognized in an event like this means a lot," he said.
During his freshman campaign, Norris made 20 appearances, had an ERA of 2.18 and an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 35 batters and walking only four.
"This summer I am working on my curve ball and my mechanics," said Norris.
Danner, who just completed his sophomore season for the Eagles, will be a junior at the University of Tampa next season. He is playing for the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs and was selected for the South All-Star Team. In 26 games this summer, he has a league-leading .402 batting average, leads the team with four home runs, and has 17 RBIs.
"It feels good to be selected to the All-Star team. Most importantly I am learning a lot about the game and how to be a better hitter," said Danner.
"It will be fun playing against my old teammates. (Norris) thinks he can get me out, but he can't," he added jokingly.
As a sophomore, Danner led the Eagles with 68 RBIs while hitting .325. He was also named to the All-Suncoast Conference first team and the FCSAA (Florida College System Athletics Association) All-State first team.
Danner, known for his home-run abilities, will also compete in the Florida League's Home Run Derby.
"I took part in a home run contest in high school. It's fun and I enjoy the experience."
In the 2011-12 season, the Eagles had a program high of 46 wins, clinched their second consecutive Suncoast Conference Championship title and earned their first-ever berth to the NJCAA JUCO World Series.